Thursday, May 7, 2015

Is Solar Hawaii’s Energy Panacea?

The group calls itself “KULOLO” an acronym for “keep our utilities locally owned and locally operated.”  The group is lead by Robert Harris of Sunrun, formerly the executive director of the Sierra Club Hawaii. 

The only member of Kulolo identified on its website is The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC).  According to TASC's website:
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) leads the rooftop solar advocacy across the country.  Founded by the largest rooftop companies in the nation, TASC represents the vast majority of the market.  Its members include: Demeter Power; Silevo; SolarCity; Solar Universe; Sunrun; Verengo; and ZEP Solar.
Kulolo’s plans are short on details.  However, they do mention Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) as a favorable model.  KIUC is a not-for-profit generation, transmission, and distribution cooperative owned and controlled by its members.  However, KIUC does not focus solely on solar energy.  KIUC’s energy portfolio includes a growing percentage of hydropower, photovoltaic, bio-fuel, and biomass.

Kulolo’s proposal, if it includes Oahu, should take into account land use policies that evolved over several generations.  Existing community and general plans direct growth away from agricultural lands and open space to the urban core.  Part of Oahu’s future will include communities that build up rather than out.  This means less rooftops for solar.

If Kulolo is successful, let us hope that the outcomes they pursue for the public are as sweet as their moniker

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